they say it’s your birthday…

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it was eight years ago that bob was born. i call april 14th his ‘official’ birthday because that’s the day i launched bobthesquirrel.com. in reality, the idea came to me in late february 2002. it took me a few weeks to sorta kinda hash out what he’d be…and to see if i’d even want to use this character.

before bob, i had ideas for at least a dozen comic strips—all of which were horrible, some bordering on insulting. i really didn’t know what it meant to create and live with a character. i knew, but i didn’t know. i’d take one of my ideas, do enough strips to fill a syndicate submission packet (usually 24 strips…a month’s worth of dailies) and send it all off. because the ideas were so short-sighted, all i could really get out of the premise was a month’s worth… then they’d fall flat on their crosshatched faces. i was telling jokes essentially. when the jokes dried up, so did those characters. gimmicks. fads. stuff like that.

but then bob came into my life. at the time, i was in flux…i had isolated myself from the outside world so much that… hell, i was alone and lonely. you can be alone and not be lonely… but that wasn’t me. bob was the friend that if i could, i’d go out and get. but i didn’t have to. he was someone to talk to, someone that liked a lot of what i liked and he was a wiseass. so, once he was in place, i built a world around him… which essentially was my world at the time. i did that so he’d seem even more real. mostly to me. and it was all in my little head.

since 2002 i’ve done over 2500 bob comics. he’s been reprinted in 6 book collections, 2 one off comic books and even a short animation. he’s been on my shoulder or sitting on my head through engagement, marriage, divorce, depression, insomnia, addiction, revision, repentance, acceptance…along with the good stuff as well. everything that i’ve gone through he’s gone through.

bob even saved my life once.

i begrudgingly and half-heartedly accept that my strip may never reach the fame and fortune of other comic strips—it’s not a perfect strip (if there is such a thing)… some people dig it, some people think it’s a waste of resources…but i’ll still be here, bob will still be here. i never imagined when i began that i’d still be churning out his nutty wiseassness for 8 years. now, i can’t imagine stopping. he’s a member of my family, a part of my life.

happy birthday brother…

Categories: bob life strip

my baby walks…

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i created bob the squirrel over 7 years ago. through thick and thin, good times and bad, the little tree rodent has always been there for me. i know it may sound bizarre to some… but if you spend as much time with your imaginary friends as i do, they become real. really real.

in all those years of drawing him, writing him, putting him in a thousand situations…(over 2500+ strips at this point) i never drew him with walking in mind. i mean, let’s face it… he’s a wise ass…the limited space you have in a daily strip doesn’t really give you much play as far as movement…you move the story along, try to be as artistic as you can and get to the next day. a daily strip is a grind that would make most mortals cry.

so, bob rarely moved. sure, he would climb trees, climb frank, chase, get chased but for the most part he was just there. he’s bob. he’s always there.

for my next semester in grad school, i’m animating.

i’ve never animated before in my life. ever. so nerves are exposed and the learning curve is steeper than well, it’s 90 degrees straight up. in talking with my artist-teacher last night, i was thrown a revelation: he’s not all that familiar with the bob character…i need to make him walk.

i knew that. if i’m going to animate he needs to walk. but frankly, i was avoiding it. maybe i was afraid that this character i spent so much time with would change once he moved. maybe he would move away from me… walk into the sunset as a chaplin silhouette.

corny and insane… i know. but like i said, i’ve spent more time with bob than almost anyone else in my life…

this morning, i did it. it took me four sheets of typing paper and a crapload of erasing, but i did it. i made bob walk.

it wasn’t as scary as i thought it would be. and after i got the one i wanted, i smiled. he was always living, but now he’s on his way to being alive.